Fifth Sunday of Easter – Year A

by Fr W. Nkomo

Click here for Sunday’s readings

1st Reading Acts 6: 1 – 7
Response. Psalm 33: 1-5. 18 – 19n
2nd Reading 1Peter 2: 4 – 9
Gospel John 14: 1 – 12

Jesus Heals The Bleeding Scars Of Our Faith No Matter How Often They Bleed.

Whenever someone new comes into our lives we cannot help but feel the anxiety of not knowing what change they will bring in our lives. Today Jesus guarantees us that an intimate relationship with him ensures us success regardless of the motives of those who come into our lives. Which means that everyone and everything that comes into our lives should pass through Christ first, because He is the Way, Truth and Life. Through him, we can do the same things he did for the people of his time.

In the first reading we see how the increase of the believers through expansion to Greek speaking Jews caused division in Jerusalem. This is a scar that dates back to the time when the Apostles argued about who is the greatest amongst them (Luke 9:46-48). Jesus had healed the wound by telling them that “he who is least among you all will be great.” The new community seems to have inherited that scar and it is bleeding; there is a dispute about the unfair distribution of the food to the widows as alleged by the Greek speaking widows. This conflict revealed a deep seated division which already existed in Jerusalem. To heal this bleeding scar the twelve made the people to choose for themselves people whom they will trust to carry out this duty with integrity. It was only after they were chosen that the twelve laid their hands on them and shared their authority with the chosen men. Here we are given a cure for division in our communities, that is, allowing everyone affected to be part of the solution and sharing of authority.

Jesus in the Gospel tells us almost the same thing whilst dealing with different scars in the lives of his disciples. Now that Jesus the one who unified the group of the Apostles is about to return to the Father there arise a question “How can we live in community with so many different opinions?” Jesus replies with an exhortation, “Do not let your hearts be troubled! There are many rooms in my Father’s house!” Jesus is surely aware of the trouble caused by differences in people and reminds them of the important aspect of faith. He tells them that it is not necessary for all to think alike. What matters is that all accept Jesus as the revelation of the Father and that, for love of him, all take on an attitude of service and love. Only Love and service bind together the many diverse members of communities into one Church.

Thomas’ question reveals another scar that still bleeds in our community; the scar of doubt, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” This is a scar which will resurface in the life of Thomas after the resurrection. Jesus replies, “I am the way, the truth and the life!” These three words give assurance that with Jesus in our lives we are enabled to take the journey of Faith, he gives us certainty and life. Jesus explains that he is the way because as we will recall from last week’s gospel reading he had said that he is the door through which the sheep enter and leave (John 10:9). He is the truth because seeing him we see the image of the Father. “If you know me, you know my Father too!” Jesus is the life because if we walk in his footsteps we shall be united to the Father and we shall have life in us.

The last scar comes from Philip’s question, “Lord, show us the Father and then we shall be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” In his question Philip expressed the desire of many in Jesus’ time and continues to be the desire of all of us: what must I do to see the Father of whom Jesus speaks so much? Jesus’ answer is very beautiful, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” We must not think that God is far away, distant and unknown. That is what Jesus says to us too; if anyone desires to know how and who God the Father is, he should only look at Jesus, who has revealed the Father in the words and signs of his life. Hence through His manner of being, Jesus revealed a new face of God that drew people to Him. Through His obedience, He was completely identified with the Father. At all times He did that which the Father told him to do (John 5:30). That is why everything in Jesus is the revelation of the Father! The signs and works he did are the work of the Father! In the same way, we, by our manner of living and living together, must be a revelation of Jesus. To have seen us should be to have seen and recognised in us a part of Jesus.

Today we are invited to contemplate on “How do I reflect Jesus?” who has promised us the same intimate relationship with the Father. He says it is only through that very relationship that we can do the same things he did for people; that is, as we have seen above heal the bleeding scars of division, doubt and dissatisfaction. With our bleeding scars healed we can together pray for the grace to not only see in Jesus one who sits in the glory of Heaven but also that Jesus of Nazareth who walked with the poor, welcomed the marginalised, healed the sick, reinstated those excluded and who, because of his commitment to the people and the Father, was persecuted and crucified. Jesus invites us all to accept Him as the revelation of the Father and that, for love of him, all take on an attitude of service and love and by so doing create a new community guided by him who binds us together in love and service.